Let’s talk about Cushing’s disease


Author: Deborah De Pablos 

Cushing’s disease, also called hyperadrenocorticism, is a hormonal disease, secondary to the hormonal functioning of the adrenal glands. In dogs affected by Cushing’s disease, the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that regulates blood sugar as well as protein and lipid balance.

Elevated cortisol in the blood can damage the animal’s organs and muscles, leaving the animal in a state of general discomfort.


A dog with Cushing’s disease has elevated cortisol in the blood, so the metabolism will be altered.

The most common symptoms are:

Polydipsia (drinking more than usual), polyphagia (eating more than usual), tiredness, hair loss…

How to diagnose Cushing’s disease

To diagnose Cushing’s disease, it is necessary to look at the functioning of the adrenal glands, injecting ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic Hormone) and measuring the cortisol in the blood, before and after the injection (which in laboratory tests is called Pre and post), a blood and urine analysis is also necessary.


Cushing’s disease is a fairly common disease in older dogs. With treatment there is a rapid improvement in the health status of the animal and life expectancy can be extended.

About the author

Deborah finished her studies in animal health in 2015 (Complutense University of Madrid). Right after finishing, she started working in the veterinary clinical hospital of Complutense University researching Clostridium Difficile. After that she worked in different departments being involved in clinical analysis, biochemistry, and microbiology. At the end of her contract, Deborah went to Scotland and gained experience in histology, working with pathologists. She also contributed to analysing COVID samples. Her aspiration to constantly evolve as a professional has led her to Cambridge and NationWide Specialist Laboratories. Deborah’s day-to-day work consists of working in the endocrinology department and analysing hormones.